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Introduction to Islamic Law*
This course will provide a critical overview of the history and practice of Islamic law. We begin by examining the origins of Islamic law, the development of the classical schools of jurisprudence and the nature of pre-modern legal institutions, especially the courts and madrasa education. In following classes, we will explore the substance of classical Islamic law, especially in the areas of family, finance and international relations. Next, we will discuss the impact of colonialism and modernity on Islamic legal discourses and institutions and finish with a discussion of the way in which Islamic law is observed in contemporary America.
Online, beginning Monday, January 23
This course will provide a critical overview of the history, practice and principles of Islamic law. We begin by examining the origins of Islamic law and the development of the classical schools of jurisprudence, with a primary focus on the Sunni tradition. Next we will discuss the nature of pre-modern Islamic law-related institutions, especially the courts and madrasa education. In following classes, we will explore the substance of classical Islamic law, especially in the areas of family, finance and international relations. Finally, we will discuss the impact of colonialism and modernity on Islamic legal discourses and institutions and finish with a discussion of the way in which Islamic law is observed in contemporary Muslim communities.
This is a vast field to which this course is a modest introduction. The texts I have selected for the course should serve together as a good introduction to the main themes of Islamic jurisprudence. Students need to purchase these books; other readings are available electronically to all registered students.
- To understand the historical development of Islamic legal institutions.
- To understand the development of Islamic legal theory from its earliest inception to the present day.
- To learn basic Islamic substantive law across the diversity of legal schools.
- To learn the terminology and technical language of Islamic legal theory at an introductory level.
- To be able to conduct academic research on topics in Islamic law and legal theory.
This is an on-line course that does not require the group to be “present” in the electronic classroom at the same time. Weekly assignments must be completed by 5pm every Sunday night (specific dates to be given with detailed reading list at beginning of class). Once you have registered for the course, you will receive more instruction about the technical aspects of participating. Participation in classâ€”by reading the assignments, by responding to the instructor’s questions and by engaging in class “discussion”â€”is crucial to learning. You will be graded for the quantity and quality of your responses to the class readings and to each other’s’ comments. There is a lot of reading to be done each week and you must do it (on the other hand, you are saving a lot of time not having to drive to the Seminary and sit in class for 3 hours each week).
Each student is required to submit one 800 - 1000 word book report during the latter half of the semester, between weeks 8-12. Books must be chosen from those listed at the end of this syllabus, and only one student will be permitted to review any book. Contact me asap about the book you would like to review and the date you will post your report. A good book report should address at least the following aspects of the book: 1) bibliographic aspects (e.g., who is the author, his or her relevant credentials 2) originality or, importance of the book relative to other published studies 3) accuracy of the facts 4) quality of the publication.
Final papers must be submitted within four weeks of completion of the course. Papers should be approximately 20 - 25 pages (no big margins, large fonts or triple spacing to fill the paper). For the structure and style of the paper, consult the “Hartford Seminary General Guidelines for a Research Paper”
Paper topics must be approved in advance by the instructor. The student is expected to use not only monographs, but a number of peer-reviewed academic articles and/or chapters as sources for the paper. You must search through the Index Islamicus for specialized studies relevant to your topic.
Students must inform themselves about the definition of plagiarism and the sanction that will be applied to those who plagiarize, including by copying text from internet sites.
Here are some examples of the kinds of topics a research paper might cover:
- Focus on the development of Islamic Law in a specific country during a particular period (e.g., India under British occupation, contemporary Malaysia, post-colonial Nigeria, democratic Tunisia, etc.).
- Focus on a particular topic in ritual law and the differences of opinion among schools regarding that subject (e.g., the ritual slaughter of animals).
- Research a topic in the history of Islamic legal education. For example, the changing role of Al-Azhar University in the Muslim world.
- Choose a particular area of law, for example, the law of torts, and make a comparative study between Islamic law and another legal system (e.g., Common Law).
- Focus on a prominent historical or contemporary Islamic legal scholar, critically presenting his or her theories their impact on society.
The final grade will be calculated as follows
1) Participation 30%
2) Book Report 20%
3) Final research Paper 50%*
*Note: D. Min. students need to contact the instructor for extra assignments.
Week One (Due 1/29th): The Formative Period
Hallaq, Chapter 1
Week Two (Due 2/5): Legal Theory
Hallaq, Chapter 2
Week Three (Due 2/12): Legal Education
Hallaq, Chapter 3
Week Four (Due 2/19): Law and Society
Hallaq, Chapter 4
Week Five (Due 2/26): The Circle of Justice
Hallaq, Chapter 5
Week Six (Due 3/4): Legal Pillars of Religion& Contracts
Hallaq, Chapters 6 & 7
Week Seven (Due 3/11): Family Law, Succession, Property
Hallaq, Chapters 8 & 9
Week Eight (Due 3/18): Offenses & Jihad
Hallaq, Chapters 10 & 11
Week Nine (Due 3/25): Courts of Justice, Suits and Evidence
- Hallaq, Chapter 12
- Amnon Cohen, “Communal Legal Entities in a Muslim Setting Theory and Practice: The Jewish Community in Sixteenth-Century Jerusalem,” Islamic Law and Society 3, 1 (1996): 75-90.
- Rossitsa Gradeva, “Orthodox Christians in the Kadi Courts: The Practice of the Sofia Sheriat Court, Seventeenth Century,” Islamic Law and Society 4, 1 (1997): 37-69.
Week Ten (Due 4/1): Modernity and Colonization in the Indian Sub-Continent
Hallaq, Chapters 13 & 14
Week Eleven (Due 4/8): Modernity & the Middle East & North Africa; Legal Modernization & Nation States
Hallaq, Chapters 15 & 16
Week Twelve (Due April 15): New Legal Methodologies
- Hallaq, Chapters 17 & 18
- Mohammad Fadel, “A Tragedy of Politics or an Apolitical Tragedy,” review article of Wael B. Hallaq’s SharÄ«Ì”a: Theory, Practice, Transformations in The Journal of the American Oriental Society 131.1 (2011): 109-127. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926978.
Week Thirteen (Due April 22): Islamic Constitutionalism and Liberal Islam
- Lecture by Professor Mohammad Fadel to be delivered at Hartford Seminary on April 15 (will be available online for those not present). Optional paper reading: Mohammad Fadel, “The True, the Good, the Reasonable: The Theological and Ethical Roots of Public Reason in Islamic Law,” University of Toronto Legal Studies Research Paper No. 977206;available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=977206.
- Vincent Cornell, “Reasons Public and Divine: Liberal Democracy, Shari‘a Fundamentalism, and the Epistemological Crisis of Islam,” http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/webforum/052011/Cornell_chapter.pdf.
- Sherman Jackson,” ‘Soft SharÃ®‘a Fundamentalism’ and the Totalitarian Epistemology of Vincent Cornell,” http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/webforum/052011/Jackson%20Response%20to%20Cornell.pdf
- Taha Jabir Al Alwani, Fatwa on “The Participation of Muslims in the American Political Process.” (www.masbayarea.org/articles/view.asp?ID=15)
Week Fourteen (Due April 29): Contemporary Muslim Scholars on Human Rights
- Murad H. Elsaidi, “Human Rights and Islamic Law: a Legal Analysis Challenging the Husband’s Authority to Punish “Rebellious” Wives,” Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, vol. 7, Issue 2, Article 4 (2011): 1-25. http://www.bepress.com/mwjhr/vol7/iss2/art4/.
- Asifa Quraishi, “Who says Shari’a Demands the Stoning of Women? A description of Islamic Law and Constitutionalism,” Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, vol. 1:1 (2008): 163-177. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1140204.
- Sadiq Reza, “Torture and Islamic Law,” Chicago Journal of International Law, vol. 8, no. 1 (Summer, 2007): 21-41. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1024230
- Mohammad Hashim Kamali, “Punishment in Islamic Law: A Critique of the Hudud Bill of Kelantan, Malaysia,” Arab Law Quarterly, vol. 13 (1998): 203-234. http://reviversofthesunnah.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/kamali-punishment-in-islamic-criminal-law.pdf
Week Fifteen (Due May 6): Islamic Legal Authority in Contemporary Societies
- Mohammad Fadel, “Reinterpreting the Guardian’s Role in the Islamic Contract of Marriage: the Case of the Maliki School,” Journal of Islamic Law 3/1 (1998): 1-26. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1221202
- Peter W. Beauchamp, “Misinterpreted Justice: Problems with the Use of Islamic Legal Experts in U.S. Trial Courts,” New York Law School Review vol. 55 (2010/11): 1097-1119. http://www.nyls.edu/user_files/1/3/4/17/49/1156/Law%20Review%2055.4_07Beauchamp.pdf
- Intisar A. Rabb, ““We the Jurists”: Islamic Constitutionalism in Iraq,” Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 10:3 (March 2008): 527-579. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1263354
Wael B. Hallaq, Shari'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Buy now
BOOKS FOR REVIEW
Abou El Fadl, Khaled. Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Ahmad, Ahmad Atif. Structural Interrelations of Theory and Practice in Islamic Law: a study of six works of Medieval Islamic jurisprudence. Brill, 2006.
Chaleby, Kutaiba S. Forensic Psychiatry in Islamic Jurisprudence (Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2001).
Christelow, Allan. Muslim Law Courts and the French Colonial State in Algeria (Princeton University Press, 1985).
Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari`ah. Eds. M. Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sharif, Ian Edge. I.B. Taurus, 2001.
Delong-Bas, Natana J. Wahhabi Islam: from revival and reform to global jihad (Oxford University Press, 2004), 93-191.
Dispensing Justice in Islam: Qadis and their judgements. Ed. By Muhammad Khalid Masud, Rudolph Peters and David Powers. Brill, 2005.
Distributive Justice and Need Fulfilment in an Islamic Economy, ed. Munawar Iqbal (Leicester, U.K.: The Islamic Foundation, 1988).
Donaldson, William J. Sharecropping in the Yemen: a study of Islamic theory, custom and pragmatism. Brill, 2000.
Dumper, Michael. Islam and Israel: Muslim Religious Endowments and the Jewish State. Washington: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1994.
Dutton, Yasin. The Origins of Islamic Law: the Qur’an, the Muwatta’ and Madinan ‘Amal (London: Curzon Press, 1999).
Eisenman, Robert H. Islamic Law in Palestine and Israel: a History of the Survival of Tanzimat and Shari’a in the British Mandate and Jewish State. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978.
El-Dakkak, M. Shokry. Repentance as a Defense: Comparative Study under Islamic Law, Common Law and Continental Law (Kuala Lumpur: A.S. Noordeen, 1994).
Fareed, Muneer Goolam. Legal Reform in the Muslim World: the Anatomy of a Scholarly Dispute in the 19th and 20th Centuries on the Usage of Ijtihad as a Legal Tool (San Francisco: Austin and Winfield, 1996).
Feldman, Noah. After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).
Gerber, Haim. State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective (Albany: State University of New York, 1994).
Glander, Annelies. Inheritance in Islam: women’s inheritance in Sana’a (Republic of Yemen): law, religion, and reality. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1998.
Haeri, Shahla. Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Shii Iran. Syracuse University Press, 1989.
Hallaq, Wael B. The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Haneef, Sayed Sikandar Shah. Homicide in Islam: Legal Structure and the Evidence Requirements (Kuala Lumpur: A.S. Noordeen, 2000).
Hassan, Sharifa Zaleha Syed and Sven Cedrroth. Managing marital disputes in Malaysia: Islamic mediators and conflict resolution in the Syariah courts. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Monograph series, 75. Surrey: Curzon Press, 1997.
Hennigan, Peter C. The Birth of a Legal Institution: the formation of Waqf in third-century a.h. Hanafi Legal Discourse.
Haykel, Bernard. Revival and Reform in Islam: the Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Hirsch, Susan F. Pronouncing and Persevering: gender and the discourses of disputing in an African Islamic Court (University of Chicago Press, 1998).
Islam and European Legal Systems, eds. Silvio Ferrari and Anthony Bradney (Ashgate Press, 2000).
The Islamic Criminal Justice System. Ed. M. Cherif Bassiouni. London: Oceana Publications.
Islamic Legal Interpretation: Muftis and Their Fatwas, ed. by Muhammad Khalid Masud, Brinkley Messick and David S. Powers (Harvard University Presss, 1996).
The Islamic Marriage Contract: Case Studies in Islamic Family Law. Eds. Asifa Quraishi and Frank E. Vogel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Islamic Political Ethics: civil society, pluralism and conflict, ed. Sohail H. Hashmi (Princeton University Press, 2002).
Johansen, Baber. Contingency in Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim Fiqh (Leiden: Brill, 1998).
Johansen, Baber. The Islamic Law on Land Tax and Rent: the peasants’ loss of property rights as interpreted in the Hanafite literature of the Mamluk and Ottoman Period (London and New York: Methuen, 1988).
Kamali,Mohammed Hashim. Islamic Commercial Law: An Analysis of Futures and Options (Islamic Texts Society, 2000).
Kamali, Mohammad Hashim. Freedom of Expression in Islam (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1997).
Keller, Nuh Ha Mim. Port in a Storm: a Fiqh Solution to the Qibla of North America (Amman: Wakeel Books, 2001).
Khalilieh, Hassan S. Islamic Maritime Law: an Introduction. Leiden: Brill, 1998.
Kozlowski, Gregory C. Muslim Endowments and Society in British India (Cambridge University Press, 1985).
Layish, Aharon. Divorce in the Libyan Family: a study based on the sijils of the Shari`ah courts of Ajdabiyya and Kufra (New York University Press, 1991).
Lev, Daniel S. Islamic Courts in Indonesia: A Study in the Political Bases of Legal Institutions. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1972.
Lombardi, Clark Benner. State Law as Islamic Law in Modern Egypt: The incorporation of the Shari`a into Egyptian Constitutional law. Brill, 2006.
Malekian, Farhad. The Concept of Islamic International Criminal Law: a comparative study (Graham and Trotman, 1994).
Mallat, Chibli. Islam and Public Law: Classical and Contemporary Studies (Kluwer Law International, 1993).
The Most Learned of the Shi`a: the institution of the Marja` Taqlid. ed. Linda S. Walbridge (Oxford, 2001).
Neusner, Jacob and Tamara Sonn. Comparing Religions through Law: Judaism and Islam (Routledge, 1999).
Owsia, Parviz. Formation of Contract: a comparative study under English, French, Islamic and Iranian Law (Graham and Trotman, 1994).
Peters, Rudolph. Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Pierce, Leslie. Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab. Univerisity of California Press, 2003.
Powers, Paul. Intent in Islamic Law: Motive and Meaning in Medieval Sunni Fiqh. Brill, 2005.
Quraishi, Asifa and Frank E. Vogel. The Islamic Marriage Contract: Case Studies in Islamic Family Law (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).
Rapoport, Yossef. Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society. Cambridge, 2005.
al-Raysuni, Ahmad. Imam al-Shatibi’s Theory of the Higher Objectives and Intents of Islamic Law (Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2005).
Reinhart, Kevin A. Before Revelation: the Boundaries of Muslim Moral Thought. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.
Religion, Law and Society: A Christian-Muslim Discussion (ed. Tarek Mitri. Geneva: WCC Publications, 1995).
Rosen, Lawrence. The Justice of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2000).
Sachedina, Abdulaziz. The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Saeed, Abdullah. Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam (Ashgate Press, 2003).
Saleh, Nabil A. Unlawful Gain and Legitimate Profit in Islamic Law: Riba, Gharar and Islamic Banking (Graham and Trotman, 1992).
Siddiqi, Muhammad Nejatullah. Partnership and Profit-Sharing in Islamic Law (London: The Islamic Foundation, 1985).
Sonbol, Amira El-Azhary. Women, the Family, and Divorce Laws in Islamic History (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East). Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996.
Stewart, Devin. Islamic Legal Orthodoxy: Twelver Shiite Responses to the Sunni Legal System (University of Utah Press, 1998).
Tucker, Judith E. In the House of the Law: Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
Wegner, Judith Romney. Chattel or Person? The Status of Women in the Mishnah (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Women, the Family and Divorce Laws in Islamic History. Ed. Amira El Azhary Sonbol (Syracuse University Press, 1996).
Vogel, Frank. Islamic Law and Legal System: Studies of Saudi Arabia (Leiden: Brill, 2000).
Vogel, Frank and Samuel L. Hayes, III. Islamic Law and Finance: Religion, Risk, and Return (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1998).
Weiss, Bernard G. The Search for God’s Law: Islamic Jurisprudence in the Writings of Sayf al-Din al-Amidi. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992.
Wheeler, Brannon M. Applying the Canon in Islam: The Authorization and Maintenance of Interpretive Reasoning in Hanafi Scholarship. Albany: SUNY, 1996.
Zubaida, Sami. Law and Power in the Islamic World (I.B. Taurus, 2003).